I always thought ground based AA sites required human intervention to pick a target. Otherwise if it were fully automatic. It seems to me putting garbage in the air would cause the AA system to expend ordinance on othing before the real threats show up. And I know Aegis does have automatic firing options in the case of a massive attack. But I dont think the Iranians have anything near that capability.
One interesting thing is that in the early morning time frame of the incident there hadn't been a departure for at least 20 min (only confirmed deprature was an hour earlier) with everything after the crash cancelled.
Is this a large enough gap to call the departure unexpected?
-Ukraine Intl officially pulling out of Tehran and immediately retracting the first unofficial response.
Doesn't this sometimes happen with crashes though?
Let's consider a few possibilities in what I hope is a "rational"way:
1. US shoots down plane
What would happen? US would have to have been launching a missile retaliation, something which given the larger context, would seem to have to be an all or nothing scenario. If it were the case that they launched something, US either has some rogue unplanned "just shoot something" attitude that would be totally stupid and doesn't make sense, and would be totally counterproductive AND it would either be purposeful (which doesn't make sense considering spy accuracy in tracking Soliemani (butchering name I know) or total firing inaccuracy if another target was intended. Neither case makes since, but the bigger proof is Iran not blaming the US for it, something which would work in their advantage to do given the current larger situation.
2. Iran shoots down plane purposely?
For what? Some conspiracy about the Canadaians being American agents in disquise or some politcal figure on the plane? Not likely, and given the situation neither side would want to unnecessarily provoke anything. Any sort of explanation that it was a planned retaliation doesn't hold water either. Wouldn't EK, given the UAE's closer connection to Saudia Arabia/Iran's enemies if the goal was some sort of far-fetched "message" since there were no Americans on the flight and a majority were Iranian.
The only "sort-of" explanation that would "sort-of" hold would be some sort of opposition figure on the flight and it was an "all-or-nothing" "can't let this person get out with something" maneuver. But this could only be the case if political conditions just suddenly changed. I know there was an Iranian crackdown on millions of protestors that led to some arrests recently, but this is the stuff of spy novels to say that they planned something in ten minutes to take out someone in the air when it would all make more sense to take out someone on the ground or in the airport. In other words, this also seems very improbable to, the more I think of it.
3. Mechanical Accident?
Here I think we should look a little more. It's true that the 737 was just out of a scheduled maintenance operation. But I have friends employed in MRO departments for several carriers and often maintnance work can cause problems.Do we know why the flight was delayed?
I think that's a very important question to ask with all this, and if there was some sort of trouble on the ground or a rush to fix something quickly, something could very easily have happened. Maybe you could even connect all this to the political situation. Crew/pilots/mechanics/ground servicing more stressed than usual given what had just been annonced, in a rush to get a plane out that's already late, and they miss something, skip over something.
Yes, they as the UIA president said we're great pilots, the 737 is a great plane, and I'm not blaming an intentional fault in their actions, but imagine what it would be like working in such an unstable region even more on edge than normal.
If Iran releases a report based on information from the Black Box, it should be verifiable, right? All the images from the ground have been released without censorship, and while there are theoroes on this thread about a plan to hurt Boeing and the US by another 737 crash, implying that this was all planned to make the plane look unsafe, the context makes people a bit too suspicious and it just seems like that theories also a bit far-fetched.
4. Accidental Shoot-Down
This has been commonly stated on this thread as well over the past day and I think from what we know now, we can't rule it out.
Similarly stressed military on edge, perhaps not expecting an overflight, or a rebel group which had access to military technology, (Do we really know the political situation as it is today there?) could have, as many said, saw an overflight in the dim morning hours, and fully expecting an immediate American response to the missiles launched hours before, have shot it down accidentally, especially if something happened with other people stressed for some reason (ATC/pilots/UIA dispatch)
Some people have mentioned shrapnel. Is this confirmable with the images we have? Could an aircraft explosion have caused any parts to give this appearance?
Others have mentioned a similarity in appearance to the fireball descending to that of MH17. Is that conclusive or true?
FlightRadar at the time of the incident may not have shown the delay and if there was some miscommunication that didn't tell the true flight plan, one isolated flight(there were no flights for at least 20 min before the incident) could trigger alarm bells, and other people on edge could have pulled the trigger.
All in all, we can't really say for sure, but it seems like Iran has been quite open with imagery and has not blamed anyone else in shooting it down.
50/50 some mechanical accident versus accidental shoot down seems all that can really be said.
Mostly questions, but two cents somewhere in all that...